In a fascinating interview with KNPR in Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called out Republicans for trying to make Obama fail and connected GOP obstruction to racism.
In response to a caller’s question about if Republicans are intentionally trying to make President Obama fail, Reid said, “Sam, my counterpart Mitch McConnell said at that beginning of the presidency of Barack Obama that he had one goal and that is to defeat Obama make sure he wasn’t reelected. And that’s how they legislated in the Senate. It was really bad. And we’ve been now seven months into this second term of the president’s and they haven’t changed much, so it’s been obvious that they’re doing everything they can to make him fail. And I hope, I hope and I say this seriously I hope that’s based on substance and not the fact that he is an African-American.”
Sen. Reid’s comments are in line with a story Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) told earlier this week to the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. Sen. Harkin said, “I’m not naming any names, but one senator got up from a southern state and said, ‘Well, you’ve got to understand that to my people down here, Obama seems like’ – he thought for a second and he said – ‘like he’s exotic.'”
Video of Harkin:
This all fits into a pattern of what the country has witnessed from Republicans since President Obama took office. Republicans always suggest that race has nothing to do with their obstruction, but they won’t explain why some Republican members of Congress are still touting conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth certificate, or the racist Obama jokes and emails that Republican office holders have been caught sending around. Their whole strategy of opposition of this president has been based on reminding the American people that Obama was different (African-American) and could not be trusted.
As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can’t come out and accuse his colleagues of racism, but he sure did toe right up to that line. Everyone knows what Sen. Reid was getting at. The level of Republican obstruction of this president is at historically unheard of levels. While Republicans have obstructed President Obama, they have gone out of their way to alienate minorities. If the Republican obstruction was genuinely about policy they would still be trying to reach out to African American and Hispanic voters, but they have done the exact opposite. As they have obstructed the president, they have also sent a clear message of animosity towards minorities.
The Republican Party has changed, and there are strains of racism present all through it. Harry Reid hinted at something that most people outside of the Republican Party already believe to be true. is true. If Obama was white, this sort of obstruction wouldn’t be happening.
To put it another way, if the president was less “exotic” Republicans would be more willing to work with him.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association